The Psychological Significance of the Horoscope

Bruno & Louise Huber explain the psychological significance of the horoscope and its five levels in this edited extract from ‘The Astrological Houses’, which was the first and foundational book in their series on astrological psychology.

This is one of an occasional series of posts where we highlight some of the basics of astrological psychology for those who are not yet familar with them.

APA natal chartThe horoscope, as is well known, shows the positions of the planets at the time of birth. From these patterns, one can extract individual characteristics and psychological developments through certain rules and laws. It is not yet understood why this should be so, but one can directly establish the definite operation of such interaction between planetary configurations and human conditions.

It is important to us that the horoscope represents the human being as a subjective centre in his proper value-position within his environment. In this view, the horoscope is a symbolically translated picture of the human being and the world in which he lives. It shows the subjective view of the person, i.e. how he sees himself, even if it may be mostly subconscious. The horoscope is the measure of his world, of which he is the centre: it becomes then the symbol of his existence. For the astrologically oriented psychologist, the horoscope becomes an excellent diagnostic tool which can quickly and reliably establish an individual’s problems.

In the example horoscope, we can grasp the whole drawing with one look. We have a graphical structure before us, which consists of different elements but which can be taken in visually as a whole unit. When we draw charts carefully and in colour, we can take them in with our senses. Then they begin to speak to us graphically. In the same way, we can view a human being standing in front of us, take him in with our senses – just as some people have the perception to know quickly from first impressions another person’s make-up.

In the horoscope we know five principle elements:

1. The Inner Circle; The Centre

energy circleWhen we contemplate the example chart, we can assume that the true essence of the human being is in the circle in the middle. This is where we look for the person’s potential.

This centre has many names. Some call it soul, psyche, anima or atman; others call it spirit, higher self or monad. In Indian philosophy, the life-giving centre is called the divine spark or fohat. In the Greek and Christian cultures, we associate it with entelechy. In reality, we cannot describe and understand this essential core in satisfactory human terms. This is why we leave this circle in the centre open and do not draw aspects through it. The horoscope is written “around” this circle.

Symbolically, when a person is born, the circle begins to beam energies in all directions, as you can see from the drawing. From this centre, he grows into his world, to become and to be.

2. The Aspect Structure

The energies radiating in all directions first meet with the aspect lines of the overall aspect picture. This aspect picture thus has a very central meaning. It works as a basic “circuit plan” or a “reaction pattern” for the individual’s vital energies. Psychologically, it is the human being’s portrait of awareness. From it, we can see the basic orientation that the individual takes in life. It shows the directions wherein his main interests and essential concerns lie, what he wants to make of his life (even without knowing consciously about it) and how and where he chiefly applies his energies.

Immediately, we can see from this central aspect configuration the potential talents that are within the individual, the ones that can be developed and used and the ones that will not present difficulties. We can also see the latent talents that cannot be expressed because they are not connected optimally within the “whole circuit plan”; they are connected but are standing aside, as are for example the Sun and Pluto in our example chart.

3. The Planets

The energies coming from the central core of being are transferred and distributed through the lines of the aspect picture between the planets, which are situated individually within the horoscope circle. The planets are the real tools of the core being: abilities and qualities of a fundamental kind.

The planets are the life organs or instruments by means of which the human being makes contact with his world. Through them he perceives and experiences the world and establishes vital and functional exchange with it.

While the aspect picture is hidden deeply within the core of the human being and is difficult to discover as structured awareness, the planetary influences are closer at hand. Their effect can be clearly established.

In the horoscope, the planets are the most flexible components. They have different speeds of motion and are found in each horoscope in different signs and in different distribution and relationship to each other. Their resultant combination gives the differentiation of human character and the uniqueness of individuation.

4. The Signs of the Zodiac

The signs of the zodiac connect us with cosmic qualities. They are the cosmic reference system, representing the laws and order of nature, giving a natural imprint to the individual “organs”, the planets. Only in this combined formulation can the core human energies confront reality and nature. Personal characteristics develop in the process.
In the signs we see the hereditary predispositions, the genetic structure, transferred to us from parents, grandparents, the race. From the positions of the planets in the signs, we can deduce through the specific sign qualities just which tendencies are inherent in the planets themselves, the individual functions.

The planets are “fed” by the signs. They are our energy sources in life.

5. The Houses

The houses represent real and tangible life situations and the areas of their detailed experience and activity. In contrast to the unique core structure of the individual (aspects, planets, signs), the houses are an exterior, not a primary influential configuration reference. The house-formation begins only with birth, and the individual deals with it all his life.

The individual begins to live only when he becomes aware of his environment. That is why the house system is of such great importance to the consciously alive human being. It shows how the environment influences him and how he reacts to it (individual sensitizing).

When one is born, one arrives into a life situation: first in the family, then in school one meets with certain surroundings, a definite location, a social stratum, religious and political directions. All these influence the child and form its character. The configuration reference of one’s house-system will be stamped into behaviour traits through the upbringing in the personal environment. The environmental factors influence the child singularly; it is being conditioned. The resulting formulation is a strong or weak personality, a strengthened or limited self-awareness, an individualist or a follower.

These reciprocal interactions between the central core (circle in the centre), the core energies or functioning organs (planets), the signs as cosmic stimulators and modifiers, and the different life arenas (houses), together make up the whole human being.

6. The Whole Human Being

It is of the greatest importance always to see the whole. The inclination is to give more weight to the surface reality which is anchored in the character but is formed from outwardly influenced personality traits. It is easily forgotten that the inner human being is just as important, maybe more so.

When we analyse a horoscope, and therefore a human being, we must always try to recognize the whole human being, his inner and outer dispositions, his spiritual as well as his practical predisposition. Only then are we able truly to understand him and to give effective help.


To learn more about the houses, see the Hubers’ book ‘The Astrological Houses’, or for an overview of astrological psychology see ‘The Cosmic Egg Timer: Introducing Astrological Psychology’ by Joyce Hopewell and Richard Llewellyn, or do one of our courses.

Featured image courtesy of agsandrew and Shutterstock.